Losing the reigning Hart Trophy winner for an extended period of
time is never ideal, but the Pittsburgh Penguins seem equipped with
enough weapons to make the absence of Evgeni Malkin relatively
The Boston Bruins are ready to test that theory.
Pittsburgh looks to win a sixth straight game Tuesday night by
earning a fourth consecutive victory over visiting Boston, which
has earned at least a point in 11 of its 12 road games.
Malkin suffered an undisclosed upper-body injury in Saturday’s
5-4 overtime win over Toronto, and he’s expected to miss at least a
The Penguins (18-8-0) didn’t miss him the following night, when
Chris Kunitz registered his second hat trick this season while
adding a pair of assists in a 6-1 win over the New York
Sidney Crosby, who leads the NHL with 45 points, had five
assists to give him a league-best 33.
”I get to play with the best player in the world every night,”
Kunitz said of Crosby, who centers their line that also includes
Pascal Dupuis. ”It makes going out and playing a lot of fun.”
Kunitz, who leads the league with a plus-21 rating, is having a
breakout season with 17 goals and 19 assists and has scored a goal
in six of his last seven games. He has 10 goals and five assists in
that stretch and ranks behind only Crosby and Tampa Bay’s Steven
Stamkos (37) in points.
”The way Kuni’s firing the puck right now, he makes all of us
look good by putting the puck in the back of the net,” Crosby
James Neal extended his goal-scoring streak to four Sunday and
has 17 on the season, and Dupuis scored twice to extend his own
streak to three.
The Kunitz-Crosby-Dupuis line has accounted for 24 goals when
playing together – more than any line in the league.
”We want to make sure that we’re producing,” said Crosby, who
has five goals and 15 assists during an NHL-best nine-game point
streak. ”We found a way to take advantage of our chances. It’s
something we want to keep doing.”
Crosby has three goals and three assists during Pittsburgh’s
three-game winning streak over Boston, which also will be seeking
to end the Penguins’ four-game run at home.
The Bruins (17-3-3) improved to 9-1-2 on the road with a 3-2
shootout victory over Ottawa on Monday after falling behind by two
goals early. Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille scored in regulation,
and David Krejci added the shootout winner for Boston, which has
won three straight overall.
Krejci also assisted on Paille’s goal.
”David’s a disher and David did what he had to do. He put it
right on the tape and Dan took care of the rest,” coach Claude
Tuukka Rask made 30 saves for his second shutout, but backup
Anton Khudobin could get the start in net Tuesday in the second of
a back-to-back. Khudobin is 4-1-0 with a 2.41 goals-against average
and has stopped 45 of 49 shots while winning his last two
Marc-Andre Fleury should get the start for Pittsburgh, but he’s
2-1-0 with a 4.43 GAA over his last four starts, also getting
pulled after giving up four goals in the first period of Thursday’s
win over Philadelphia.
Fleury, though, is 6-2-0 with a 1.75 GAA in his last eight
starts versus Boston.